“Never give up. Keep fighting. No excuses. Be the best YOU.”
Jenn Roder was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2017. She has successfully defeated her disease. She is one of the “American Ninja Warrior Season 10” Competitor.
“I was in for a routine physical in January of 2017. My brother had been diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer a few months prior to my doctor did a very thorough neck check. She felt a very small lump and decided because of family history it was enough to send me off for more testing. The ultrasound a week later showed that there was definitely something there that should be biopsied. At the end of February 2017, I had my biopsy and a week later the test results showed likely for thyroid cancer. My endocrinologist recommended a total thyroidectomy which I had at the end of March 2017. A week after my thyroidectomy, it was confirmed as papillary thyroid cancer.”
“The whole process was quite scary. I was very aware of the process since my brother had been diagnosed and treated shortly before me but it was still scary. I never really feared for my life (although there were and still are moments where I fear the cancer is back or somewhere else in my body) but I feared who I would be after my treatment and total thyroidectomy.
I knew the side effects of not having a thyroid and was watching my brother go through them as I was going through my diagnosis and treatment. I was scared about the type of mother and wife I was going to be. I just knew that life was going to be harder and that I was going to have to work harder but I was afraid I didn’t have it in me.
Luckily, I had been training at an obstacle gym (Obstacle Academy in Edina, MN) for American Ninja Warrior. Because of the shape, my body was in, surgery was easy for the surgeon and I was able to be fairly active only a few weeks after my surgery. Was I the same? No way. But I had something to get me out of the house and get me active on a regular basis. Training for obstacles also helps me with my everyday struggles. I can go to the gym and work on physical obstacles like the warped wall or devil steps.
I may not get them the first try or every time but when I do, it’s a great reminder that hard work pays off. Quitting doesn’t get you anywhere and sometimes you just have to keep pushing through failure after failure. Life was like that now. I struggle with just about everything. I’m tired, I don’t handle stress well, my anxiety is through the roof, I get upset stomachs regularly, my brain seems to tap out, and I just never feel “100%”.
It’s frustrating but I have to constantly remind myself of the strong person that I am and that I can get through this one moment at a time. I try to be proud of each moment I walk through and continue to keep myself motivated by focusing on how far I’ve come (even on days where I’ve felt like I’ve gone backward). I may be cancer free but my fight will never stop.”
Motivation to fight cancer
“My number one motivation was my son and my husband. I have to be present for them. They are my life and my everything, I cannot imagine not being there for them. Like I said before, I never really feared for my life, but I feared for the person I was and who I would become after losing my thyroid. I didn’t want to lose all energy so I wouldn’t be able to spend time with my family. I was also motivated by my goals at the gym. I wanted to be stronger physically and mentally and training for American Ninja Warrior was (and is) a great motivator for me.”
“Probably getting my thyroid dosage just right. It’s been over a year and a half since my TT and I still don’t feel right. I’m getting to the point where I’m almost positive I will never be 100% again and I’m trying to combat that negative self-talk. I am a hindrance to myself because I so often talk down to myself or negatively self-talk my situation. Instead of looking at what I have accomplished in the situation I’m in, I go back to who I could have been if this hadn’t happened to me and I never got thyroid cancer.”
Message to other cancer patients
“Keep fighting. You are not alone. Find joy in the small victories (I mean, really small as you got out of bed this morning). Life is hard and even harder after thyroid cancer but we can still accomplish anything we want. Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t compare yourself to who you could’ve been if this hadn’t happened. Own who you are and what you’ve gone through and be proud of how far you’ve come.”